The final chapter of the Valiant Next initiative landed in stores yesterday. At last, the eagerly awaited Bloodshot Reborn #1 arrived, heralding a new take on the character from writer Jeff Lemire and artist Mico Suayan. Following The Valiant’s conclusion, Bloodshot’s life has changed in drastic ways, and I, along with many other comic fans, was eager to see the next stage in this former soldier’s life.
After losing his nanites and retiring from a life of combat, Bloodshot is simply Ray Garrison. Taking a job as a handyman for a Colorado motel, Ray shuffles through a meaningless life, spending his nights in a pill and alcohol fueled haze. Trapped by the memories of the atrocities he committed against his will, Ray isn’t sure if he will ever truly escape the cycle. This becomes ever more apparent as a new killer appears, one who looks strangely like Bloodshot.
Lemire needs to be applauded for taking a character originally designed for the purpose of “hardcore” action and turning him into one of the most interesting individuals in comics. Where once Bloodshot was a title one turned to for over-the-top combat, this new series takes a step back and examines the man himself. How does a former killing machine view his own life? How does he cope with the grief, the guilt, the overwhelming torture that his own mind inflicts upon him?
Furthermore, this first issue allows Lemire to establish themes in a straightforward and cogent manner. The first is that of violence’s place in modern American society: regrettably, violence is still prevalent, yet simultaneously it is viewed as acceptable in certain contexts, such as in entertainment that is marketed to young children. The second is redemption: can a man who is responsible for hundreds of deaths ever find peace? And, if he moves down a path of killing to do so, can it truly be called redemption?
Suayan is one the most talented artists in comics, and his hyper realistic style is a great fit for Bloodshot Reborn. The level of detail in each panel is amazing, and it’s clear that the months of precise work he layered on this comic paid off. Lemire adds some of his own, cartoon-like illustrations to certain key scenes, which acts as a perfect foil for Suayan’s work.
Colorist David Baron backs up Suayan with an exceptional palette. His color choices reflect the feeling of each scene, and the starker images of Bloodshot’s memory are filled with red, black, and white, while the present is portrayed in earthier greens, browns, and grays. Letterer Dave Lanphear rounds out the creative team with his excellent balloon and caption box placement, as well as font selection.
I’m just going to say it: Bloodshot Reborn #1 is the best single issue of a comic I’ve read in the last few months. That’s along with titles like The Valiant, Red One, and Sabrina hitting the stands. It’s a beautiful character study that left me feeling simultaneously fulfilled while still clamoring for the next installment. This comic will make you think about complex issues and challenge your perception, while also providing solid entertainment. It’s easily accessible to new readers, but will reward longtime fans of the Valiant Universe as well. I cannot say enough good thing about this issue; you need to pick it up!
-amazing story line that examines violence in modern American society
-exceptional and gripping character work
-new reader friendly
-I wish it could have been much longer; the wait for the next issue will be tough!
Latest posts by Silverwolf (see all)
- Silverwolf’s Den: Shaft: A Complicated Man - December 1, 2016
- Silverwolf’s Den: Uncanny X-Men Superior Vol. 1: Survival of the Fittest - November 25, 2016
- Silverwolf’s Den: Deadman Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #1 - October 31, 2016
- Young Animal Reading List – October - October 29, 2016
- Silverwolf’s Den: Fear Agent Part 1 - September 18, 2016